Dec 1, 2023 - Politics & Policy

George Santos expulsion was up in the air ahead of House vote

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was expelled from Congress on Friday, but the lead-up featured confusion and uncertainty that had some members assuming it was a tossup.

Why it matters: Members of GOP leadership came out against booting the embattled Long Islander in recent days even as they told members to vote their conscience.

Driving the news: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told reporters on Thursday that Santos is "going to have his day in court, which he deserves."

  • Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters on Friday that he will also vote against expulsion.
  • One House Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Axios that leadership is “kind of messaging that the absence of a conviction is problematic."
  • The GOP lawmaker, who once said they expected Santos to be expelled, told Axios on Friday morning that the vote is up in the air and could be decided by a handful of votes.

What they're saying: "He's been talking that, been very cautious, the last few days," Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said of Johnson's public announcement that he's voting against expulsion.

  • "I don't find that anything new … he talks about innocent until proven guilty."
  • "I think leadership opposing this is another example of Republicans who can't lead. And that's really shameful," said Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), who is voting for expulsion.
  • "I think, as most things, once we get to the moment of having to take a vote of such significance, there are going to be people who judge and take stock of their own conscience and decision-making," said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.), a vocal expulsion supporter.

The bottom line: Expulsion required a two-thirds vote of the House.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Santos is a Republican, not a Democrat.

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